I was talking with someone at church last Sunday and heard her say, “I love to serve.” Serving is one of those natural responses that comes from love and joy. It’s a word that’s heard a lot in church; Love God? Then it just flows into serving God and serving others. It’s not a spiritual practice when it comes from that source. It just is what happens. It’s how we are moved, knowing we are loved.
The spiritual practice of serving comes by always being aware of when serving comes from another motivation.
If serving is a “should” we have lost the freedom of being a Christian. (Pastor Sean’s current study will take you deeper into that understanding.) If we serve so others will think we are good/religious/spiritual/devout, we’ve also won’t feel the love and joy that is inherent in serving. In fact, we may feel it become a burden of some sort.
None of us do this perfectly. Whew. It’s okay. God’s grace.
A spiritual practice for this week could be to become aware of where and how you serve. You may not even realize that this is the way you serve because it’s so natural. And you love it. Or maybe you’ve done it so long, you are on auto pilot. Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe the Spirit is calling you to something new in the church or in the world. Or maybe it’s time to take a rest if you are over-committed. Serving God and others pours out from Love and of Love and in Love. And then it’s easy to say, “I love to serve.”
Pastor Marcia Wakeland is a retired ELCA pastor, a spiritual director and a listening advocate. She is interested in the actual experience of having faith and how that is lived out. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments or more questions Her ongoing blog of living out spiritual practices is listeninglife.live.